Our strength comes from the families we serve. In these three very special letters, you’ll meet three patients and families who are an important part of the Mitchell’s Fund family.
April 25, 2014
To Whom It May Concern:
I am honored to be filling out this application for your program. I would love to join in this summer with other teenagers and young adults who have battled life-threatening illnesses just like me. Camp is the perfect place for us to put the negative aside and focus on being young and having fun! Let me tell you a little about my journey.
I have been battling cancer since I was around 13 years old. I am now 20 years old, and I continue the fight every single day. We discovered I had cancer when the doctors noticed a large mass on the right side of my neck. It was about the size of a baseball! This disease has truly become a part of me, and I have had to learn how to live and cope with it throughout most of my life. It has become second nature. This is just a little exposure into my battle with cancer.
I think for me the hardest part when I was younger, was when I started losing my hair. Even though I was a boy, it was still hard for me. Needless to say I was always embarrassed. I guess for me at that age, I just didn’t want people to know that I was sick; that I wasn’t a normal child. Within the first year of dealing with cancer, I learned how to deal with certain things in a different way. I didn’t like showing that I was sick. And I sure didn’t like complaining, it didn’t suit me. I’ve always looked at it this way – I don’t want my sickness and me feeling bad to affect my family or my friends. I wouldn’t want them worrying constantly. As I got older, it seemed my body tolerated more so I was able to do more, like, be more active in work, with my friends, and in everyday things. I’m one of those people who will and could tough it out through about anything you throw at me. Cancer has become nothing but a little routine. I know that the cancer has made me a fighter and taught me never to back down no matter how much bigger your opponent is or how outnumbered you are, as long as you know you gave it your all. The way I see it, you’re still a winner. I believe that cancer hasn’t affected my life in a bad way. It’s made me into a man who has characteristics anyone would be proud of! Another reason I know I did so well is because of the great doctors and nurses and support team I have had. You don’t realize how much it helps at the time, but when you’re looking back you can see it made a difference.
This is just a little of how cancer has affected my life in my own opinion. If I could go back and change the fact that I ever had it, well, I wouldn’t. I have gained and lost a great deal with this disease, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
To whom it may concern:
I regret to write this note, but I cannot make it to the ranch as I hoped this year. There was a different plan for me. Instead, I will be watching from above, and I will be sending lots of love to all of the kids and praying that they get through their journeys with strength and courage. While cancer defeated my body, it did not defeat me. Have an awesome summer!
The Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund assisted in the costs of this patient’s funeral.
I am a single mother. My child has Neuroblastoma, and they have sent us to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment.
It has been a long road for my family. My husband was murdered three years ago. As my family tried to get through those dark days, that’s when we found out about the cancer. It seemed like things just kept getting worse for us. Leaving home to get care for my child was hard, but St. Jude was the best possible place for us.
My son is now in remission and back home, and we are so grateful. I am employed and working as much as I can. Unfortunately, I had to miss two weeks to travel back to Memphis for follow-up appointments and my son became sick so I had to stay home with him. Before we left, my car suddenly broke down so we experienced some unexpected expenses. I am ashamed to say, but I cannot pay for rent this month for my family. I don’t know what to do. I have reached out to family members and churches and no one is able to assist.
I work hard, I really do, but there have been so many unexpected events lately that I just need to get caught up and back on my feet.
The Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund paid for three months rent to support this hard working mother.
I want to go home.
Cancer has taken over my body, and I cannot win. Leukemia. It even has a horrible sounding name. I have been battling this disease since I was three years old. I am now 22. My family has been by my side and taken care of me for 20 years. Can you even imagine?
Cancer has consumed us. My parents are so strong, they really are. I have been strong too, but the journey is coming to an end. The doctors say I have just a short time left. After five relapses and two years of chemotherapy after each relapse, I am done. My body is so tired and there are no other options. I am in a hospital in Maryland where we came for a final clinical trial. It was unsuccessful. At this point, all I want to do, is go home and be with my family in my final days. I love them so much. They say I am medically unable to fly commercially or by private vehicle. My family can’t afford anything else at this point. It will cost $8,000 to get home by ambulance.
Man, I wish I were home.
In just two days, The Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund helped to get him home.
Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund
c/o Novant Health Foundation
Presbyterian Medical Center
P.O. Box 33549
Charlotte, NC 28233-3549